Film, Reviews

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The Lighthouse Late – Fri 24 Oct

27 Oct 20144 stars

Line-up included Ella The Bird, James Yorkston, art collective METASITU and Stuart Murdoch

Glasgow boasts many glorious buildings. Yet hidden down a lane off Buchanan Street sits one of its best kept architectural secrets. Now the secret is out as on Friday 24 October The Lighthouse, together with The List, presented a celebration of…

The Overnighters

27 Oct 20144 stars

Jesse Moss's oil fracking documentary exposes the myth of the American dream

In the small town of Williston, North Dakota oil fracking has brought big changes, not just to the environment (the once desolate prairies are now dotted with heavy machinery), but also to the local community. The lure of opportunity sees thousands of…

Mr Turner

27 Oct 20145 stars

Striking biopic of the British master from Mike Leigh starring Timothy Spall

Mr Turner opens on a sun-blushed windmill and on milkmaids giggling and gossiping as they carry their pails. They make way for Turner himself, silhouetted against the sky and iconic from the outset, with his top hat, sketchpad and portly frame. It's a…

Nightcrawler

27 Oct 20144 stars

Penetrating satire with a blackly comic streak starring a sensational Jake Gyllenhaal

What do you get if you cross Tom Ripley, Rain Man's Raymond Babbitt and American Psycho? Well, apparently you get Lou Bloom, an ambitious, manically assiduous character who finds employment as a professional rubber-necker. Played by Jake Gyllenhaal…

Monsters: Dark Continent

24 Oct 20141 star

Derivative sci-fi sequel from debut director Tom Green starring Joe Dempsie and Johnny Harris

Four years ago, British director Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) made his stunning debut with Monsters. Working with a miniscule budget, Edwards' expert balance of a high concept premise – two civilians thrown together in the aftermath of an alien invasion…

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The Book of Life

22 Oct 20144 stars

Exuberant animation featuring the voices of Channing Tatum and Zoe Saldana

Inspired by Mexican holiday the Day of the Dead, director Jorge R Gutierrez and producer Guillermo del Toro's charming animated adventure begins with a museum guide (Christina Applegate) introducing a bunch of detention kids to Mexican folklore, telling…

Night Train to Lisbon

21 Oct 20143 stars

Sporadically successful melodrama from Bille August starring Jeremy Irons

The once lauded director Bille August has been a sporadic presence of late; the director of Oscar-winner Pelle the Conqueror has kept a low profile since the failure of his 90s English-language literary adaptations The House of the Spirits and Smilla's…

Foxcatcher

20 Oct 20144 stars

London Film Festival: Channing Tatum and Steve Carell excel in a psychological thriller

Not everyone will know the true story on which Foxcatcher is based, although you may quickly guess the direction in which the film is heading. Bennett Miller's third narrative feature – after Capote and Moneyball – is a finely crafted subversion of the…

A Little Chaos

20 Oct 20144 stars

London Film Festival: Alan Rickman directs and stars in an entertaining costume drama

Alan Rickman's second film as director, following 1997's The Winter Guest, is an unashamedly crowd-pleasing period drama with a terrific central performance from his Sense and Sensibility co-star Kate Winslet. Winslet plays Sabine De Barra, a widowed…

The Knife That Killed Me

20 Oct 20143 stars

Ambitious but flawed teen drama from Kit Monkman and Marcus Romer boasting a bold visual style

Given the title, it's no spoiler to say The Knife That Killed Me opens with a lethal stabbing. Paul Varderman (Jack McMullen) then narrates his way through the events that led to this fateful encounter with the blade: moving to Leeds after his mum dies…

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Mommy

20 Oct 20145 stars

London Film Festival: Xavier Dolan's fifth film is a domestic drama that's raw and hilarious

Mommy deals with the complex issues of mental illness and domestic difficulties in a way that John Cassavetes would admire: by celebrating difference and not shrinking back or judging when things get ugly. After his taut thriller Tom at the Farm…

Jimi: All Is By My Side

20 Oct 20142 stars

Misjudged biopic of Jimi Hendrix is heavy on the soap opera, light on the tunes

People have been trying but failing to make movies about guitar god Jimi Hendrix for decades, almost since Jimi died, at 27, in 1970. Screenwriter John Ridley, Oscared for 12 Years a Slave, finally pulls one off. Sadly, the result will not satisfy…

Whiplash

20 Oct 20145 stars

London Film Festival: Damien Chazelle's second film plays like a high octane thriller

Captured with a riveting and rhythmic intensity which mirrors its protagonist's ferocious focus and surging drive, Whiplash is an audaciously edited, voraciously performed story of blood, sweat and beats which makes you feel every pummel and thrash.

Serena

20 Oct 20142 stars

Depression-era melodrama from Susanne Bier featuring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper

Serena Pemberton (Jennifer Lawrence) is a strong, independent woman. We know this not just because of her actions – moving to the wilds of Depression-era America with new husband George (Bradley Cooper) to become an equal partner in his logging company…

Love, Rosie

20 Oct 20142 stars

Manic, barrel-scraping rom-com from Christian Ditter starring Lily Collins and Sam Claflin

Based on the novel Where Rainbows End by Cecelia Ahern, Love, Rosie pitches, nay flings itself at the less discerning end of the romantic comedy crowd. German director Christian Ditter (French for Beginners) proves an unsteady hand at the helm of a…

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The Way He Looks

20 Oct 20143 stars

Charming Brazilian coming-of-age drama from director Daniel Ribeiro

The familiar growing pains of adolescence are captured from a fresh perspective in The Way He Looks, an unassuming but sweetly engaging coming-of-age drama that serves as Brazil's contender for the forthcoming Best Foreign Language Film Oscar tussle.

This Is Where I Leave You

20 Oct 20142 stars

A star cast, including Jason Bateman and Tina Fey, fails to lift this dispiriting dramedy

Jane Fonda is the oversharing matriarch of a grieving family forced to sit Shiva after their father passes away in this disappointing dramedy from Shawn Levy, with a screenplay from Jonathan Tropper, adapting his own novel. A starry ensemble cast…

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

17 Oct 20144 stars

London Film Festival: Ana Lily Amirpour's film is beautifully crafted 'Iranian vampire western'

Etched in kohl and doused in dark humour, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is the bewitching first feature from writer-director Ana Lily Amirpour. She's a Los Angeles-based, English-born filmmaker of Iranian descent whose debut also resists easy…

It Follows

16 Oct 20145 stars

London Film Festival: David Robert Mitchell offers his twist on the slasher film and it's a ripper

David Robert Mitchell continues his visually arresting exploration of teen life with a horror film that recalls John Carpenter’s Halloween but puts its own unique spin on the slasher film. The same leafy streets of suburban Michigan in which Mitchell…

Black Butler

16 Oct 20143 stars

Martial arts mayhem from Kentarô Ohtani and Kei’ichi Sato as the manga springs to life

Two directors, Kentarô Ohtani and Kei’ichi Sato, take on the task of bringing Yana Toboso's massively successful manga Kuroshitsuji to the big screen, a comic which has already inspired an anime TV series, a musical and a video game. Tsutomu Kuroiwa…

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The Salvation

16 Oct 20144 stars

London Film Festival: Edgy, entertaining western from Kristian Levring, starring Mads Mikkelsen

The Good, the Bad and... the Danish? Dogme signatory Kristian Levring has crafted a gripping and stylish revenge western with a decidedly dark bent, taking standard genre staples and imbuing them with a suitably Scandinavian sensibility to enormously…

Testament of Youth

16 Oct 20143 stars

London Film Festival: Respectful adaptation of Vera Brittain's memoir starring Alicia Vikander

The gut-wrenchingly poignant WWI memoir Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain was a bestseller in 1933, although by then young men knew war wasn’t a school trip with guns. The basis for a 1979 TV series, it remains a moving tribute to the innocence of the…

The Best of Me

16 Oct 20142 stars

Insipid romantic drama that wastes the talent of James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan

The ninth adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel is as soft focus and simple minded as its predecessors but with a whiff of fatigue which suggests even the filmmakers involved have grown weary of identikit romantic tragedies. Michael Hoffman steers a far…

Citizenfour

16 Oct 20143 stars

Laura Poitras' documentary on Edward Snowden captures history in the making

Citizenfour is a documentary that makes a loyalty card seem completely ironic. Thanks to people like whistleblower Edward Snowden, news headlines have been rife with the stories about big government tracking us. In this real life political thriller…

Fury

15 Oct 20144 stars

London Film Festival: Brad Pitt impresses in David Ayer's appropriately brutal take on World War II

David Ayer’s second film this year, following Sabotage, takes all of the contemporary grit that he shovelled into his earlier work – like 2012's End of Watch – and puts it in a period context. Set in April 1945, as the Allies make their final push to…